April 9th, 2013

Our Stay Inna JA

We had a lovely time in JA. It was especially nice & easy thanks to our local hosts and longtime frens, Sara & Marvin, who in addition to leading our party round the island, convening some great crews of friends & colleagues, carrying us to this party and that beach, and being total sports about hanging with our large fam, opened their home to us — a sweet perch in town, complete with mangoes in the yard!

good marning!

Like any Kingston hosts worth their salt, Sara & Marv made sure we made it to Hellshire Beach our first weekend there, where we had our fill of oysters, lobster, and fried fish –

marvy marv & oyster

fried lobsta!

fish, festival, & bammie

We couldn’t resist a likkle dip, the first of many on the trip –

sunday hellshire vibes

That night we hit up Rockers Sound Station’s Rock Ur Soul Sundays, a dubwise session held at a spot called the Dub Club way up Jack’s Hill. It was a wild & windy ride, but the payoff was an incredible vista and some good, heavy vibes. It was a serious system, frequently exploited by the selectors who mostly withheld the massive bass for maximum effect. And when it dropped, bomba… While we were there, and this is hardly surprising, we were treated to an Italian guest selector wielding a single turntable (and the mixer & airhorn, of course), playing tracks with lines like “African or British, Italian, Japanese / it’s important that we share in love and harmony.” Amazingly, I found the session archived on Ustream! –

rastagate

kingston dub club

But we only got a couple nights in town. Most of our time was spent up in Portland at a far more leisurely pace. When we finally made it to the other side of the island, after threading mountain turns for a few hours, the first thing I saw was some graffiti nodding north & repping the THUG LIFE (G-UNOT!) —

G-UNOT

We stayed in an amazing place called the Belmount, an exquisite little spot on the San San peninsula, overlooking the Blue Lagoon, Monkey Island, and San San Beach –

monkey island, blue lagoon

Pretty sweet at sunset too –

g'night!

Here’s from the other side of the house/peninsula –

MARNIN'

And don’t get me started on the plantings and flowers and such. But I will share one great moment: on one walk around the yard, I noticed a flower that had been choked by a small vine, so I snapped the vine and gently unraveled it and the flower opened right up, as if in some act of magical gratitude –

i noticed this flower was entwined by a vine

jamaican flowers #

Belmount is just down the road from Frenchman’s Cove, so we spent a couple days in the special spot where the cool river meets the warm sea and a swing hangs from an almond tree at just the right height –

charlie & charlie

nico swingo

Of course, we also pilgrimaged to Winnifred Beach, maybe the most perfect natural beach I’ve ever seen, so well captured in this epic panorama shot by Sara –

winnifred in panorama

Of course, we had to stop for some post-beach jellies (& about a dozen other fruits during the week) –

jelly time!

jelly time!

Becca had her first otaheite apple in a decade, and the girls their first ever, so that was sweet –

double-fisting otaheite & guava

If only we could plant one of these things up in Cambridge…

otaheite seedie

Of all the delicious and alien fruit we sought out and encountered, I discovered I’m a sucker for almonds. Sea almonds, I believe. And more the trees than the fruit, which I didn’t get much a chance to try. (I did bite into a freshly fallen one I found on the beach, which had a tart, pear-ish taste and an almost avocado feel. Pretty good, but it wasn’t ripe enough.) I hadn’t noticed before, but almond trees totally proliferate in Jamaica, both as wild beach majesties and squat sculpted lawn ornaments –

almond tree towering over the beach

almond trees, hammock

They have great teardrop leaves, which turn orange, then red, and drop gently from the trees –

me & almond leaf

nico w almond leaf

This ol’ struggler provided crucial shade at Frenchman’s –

gimme shelter

While this one in the Belmount yard has orchids growing out of it!

orchid on an almond

I was even enamored of the morbid beauty of fallen almonds being dismantled by beetles –

bugs dismantling almonds

But enough about trees. That’s enough, I’m sure. Thanks for watching! Since I’ve had you here this long, I’ll leave you a couple parting shots I can’t resist leaving out: a herd of goats running the road –

goat herd pon di road!

goat herd pon di road!

Special thanks to Charlie 1.0, driving above, and Fern, not pictured, for making the whole dang thing possible. It was a Jamaican vacation I’ve always dreamed of — and to be able to introduce Nico and Charlie to the place this way was wonderful.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. wayneandwax.com » R&hellip  |  April 10th, 2013 at 1:00 am

    [...] I was in Jamaica last month, an item ran in the Gleaner with the sensational title: “Is reggae being stolen? Foreign [...]

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Wayne&Wax

I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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